Can Enterprise Architecture be a catalyst for Change Management?

I received an e-mail about EA and Change Management and I thought I would share my high-level thoughts on the subject. I will

Definition – Change Management is a structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies that enables the transition from a current state to a desired future state.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) can definitely be a catalyst for organizational change management. EA methodologies include processes and tools for managing both the people and the technology sides of an organizational. EA helps in raising and recording of architecture changes, assessing the impact on the enterprise, cost / benefit analysis, risk management, supportability concerns, alignment with business objectives and facilitates justification and obtaining approval from both IT and the business.

There are several EA processes that enable enterprise architects to be successful at change management these include: architecture fit assessments, review boards, technology life cycles, standards, security policies, ITIL, etc. For the most part these are governance process that mandate change. However successful EA organizations learn from the power of influence. Acting like a traffic cop doesn’t work; EAs need to earn the trusted advisor role since in most organizations they are individual contributors.

There are tools or frameworks that include a structured approach that can be used to effectively transition groups or organizations through change. Frameworks such as Zachmann or TOGAF provide an EA framework. However be careful with frameworks, they are not all encompassing. There are very clear gaps with current EA frameworks.

GOA and FEA frameworks for Change Management, see below for PDF

Another important aspect is Architecture Roadmaps and Strategy. This is an artifact of Enterprise Architecture functions. When developing architecture strategy you take in many aspects of your business and current IT landscape and build out your Future State. There are several processes from varying sources that can be used to derive to a future state. But for the sake of this post I will not get into those aspects just yet.

In summary, EA is a catalyst for changing both the processes in which the IT community makes technology decision and the overall technology that will live in an enterprise.

You can find examples of this here:

TOGAF Change Management Guidance

http://www.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf8-doc/arch/chap14.html

Forrester EA Change Management

http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,42060,00.html

FEA Change Management

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03584g.pdf

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